More than 2,300 healthcare workers in Algeria have been infected with COVID-19, 44 of which have died since the pandemic’s outbreak, according to Health Minister Abderrahmane Benbouzid.
In a press statement on Tuesday, Benbouzid appealed for public support to the medical staff who are “at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He hailed their competence and professionalism, as well as the sacrifices they make in the field, stressing that they need everyone's help.
The Minister called on the entire nation to respect and implement the preventive measures imposed by the government to confront the pandemic. These include maintaining hygiene, social distancing, respecting sanitary confinement, and compulsory wearing of face masks.
Public sector hospitals and clinics have been facing great pressure due to the increase in the number of coronavirus infections, which exceeded 18,000, by an average of 600 per day.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said on Sunday he will issue a new bill “to protect all the country’s medical personnel and workers.”
He stressed these penalties would be “severe” and would range between “five to 10 years in prison” against any aggressor on doctors or nurses.
Some hospitals have recently seen violent acts by relatives of those infected.
In an initiative by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Endowments, a national solidarity campaign with medical staff was launched on Tuesday, dubbed “We are all with doctors against the pandemic.”
The launching campaign was overseen by Minister Yusuf Belmahdi and in the presence of Benbouzid at Mustapha Pasha University Hospital in the capital.
Belmahdi vowed to publicize the initiative throughout the country.
Under the initiative, civil society organizations are set to visit hospitals, provide support to medical personnel, and discuss their local needs.